"Lantern Festival on the Second of the Second Month of the Lunar Year" in Ningxi town

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Although lantern festival events are usually held on the 15th of the first year of the lunar year almost everywhere in China, Ningxi town of Taizhou, Zhejiang province holds theirs on the second of the second month of the lunar year.

So why has Ningxi town observe this festival on a different day? It's a tradition, which originated in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) with a history of over 700 years. It is said that the festival was deliberately put off to the "Dragon Heads-raising Day" of the second of the second month of the lunar year in an attempt to learn from the events held in other places and provide another opportunity for the people to view lanterns in Ningxi town.

The lantern show on "Dragon Heads-raising Day" also symbolizes people' good wishes for weather conducive for crops and a bumper harvest. A couplet describes the spectacular event as "the lanterns brighten the ground and the drumbeat and music rise into the sky."

The ancient borough of Ningxi town was made up of eight "residences," which took turns each year being in charge of organizing the event. The lanterns were usually displayed and lit on the second of the second month of the lunar year and withdrawn on the eighth. When it was time to display the lanterns, a T-shaped pole would be erected at each "residence" with nine large red lanterns hanging on the pole.

In addition, a kiosk would be set up by every "residence" for the god of that "residence" or the god of wealth worshiped in it. Another kiosk would also be placed nearby for the trumpeters who would play from morning until night. A festive, happy feeling would grow amidst the lanterns and the music.

During the event, colorful lanterns would be hung and Spring Festival couplets would be pasted on the gateposts or door panels of every household. There were various traditional lanterns such as gauze lanterns, hand lanterns, glass palace lanterns, lotus-shaped lanterns, revolving scenic lanterns, and lanterns in the shapes of animals.

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The brightly lit street of Ningxi town, Taizhou, Zhejiang province on May 7, 2018. [Photo/hynews.zjol.com.cn]

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